We often talk about the sales process here on the blog—from speeding it up to making it more effective as a whole. But some sales organizations may be left wondering: how do you build a sales process anyway?
First thing you need to know is that there is NO one way to build a sales process. Your sales process must be built based on HOW you want it to function and WHAT you want it to achieve. A lot of companies make the mistake of simply emulating another company’s process. This is just not right. You have to put more thought and consideration into building your own sales process.
So while there is no formula or template in building a sales process, there are best practices to consider before you set out to create and establish yours—especially if you want it to be as efficient as possible.
4 Things You Need to Do First to Build an Efficient Sales Process1. Identify Your Target Market
Who is your product or service for? When starting out, you have a general idea on who your product was created for. After all, you most likely created the product to answer a need or demand—and so you know who has those needs or demands. But you also want to make a thorough analysis and review of the market and your product to identify who you want to target. How? Try these steps.
- List down all your product features, assets, and advantages and identify the people or companies who will benefit from those.
- List down all the pain points your product addresses and identify the people or companies who run into those types of issues.
- Look at competition. Who are they targeting? But don’t just go after the same market. They might be marketing to some of your target audience, and not all. They may be targeting a segment you don’t need to tap or the opposite: they are forgetting a segment.
- Identify not only those who need your product now but also those who may need it at a later time.
- Also identify the people or companies who may not need it, but may most likely still buy it.
Do note that your target market now can still evolve. After some time in the market, you may find people buying your product that you initially overlooked. Or you might see a shift in the kinds of people or companies that really buy your product.
After you’ve analyzed your market and product, you have to create your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) and/or buyer personas. These are not the same; we would recommend that you identify both, especially the buyer persona. Buyer persona is more detailed, outlining everything from demographics to needs, interests, buying behaviors, goals, motivations, aspirations, values, and even frustrations. You can even assign a name and a photo to your buyer persona. There are 10 steps to building it.
2. Establish Criteria for Qualifying Leads
Some leads will not purchase your product, and you don’t want to waste your time attending to them. This is why it's important to establish the criteria that will determine which leads are qualified to make the purchase.
Most teams look at a prospect’s BANT, that is: Budget, Authority, Need, Timing. Essentially, a prospect is deemed highly qualified to make the purchase if:
- He has the budget for your product
- He has authority to make the purchasing decision
- He (and/or his company) has a need for your product
- His need is urgent
It’s also important to have a lead scoring system to best qualify all the leads that come your way. Lead scoring is a scoring system wherein leads or prospects are assigned values (essentially points or scores). The values or scores, from a scale of 0 to 100, are based on a lead scoring model determined by the organization or business. You should begin building a functional lead scoring system if you don’t have one yet.
3. Build a Sales Plan
A sales plan is a document that outlines your strategies for hitting sales targets, improving sales performance, and/or meeting other sales goals within a specific timeframe.
Your sales process should achieve the intended results and the end goals. Your sales plan will show you how you can achieve these. This is why the two go together. Don’t have a sales plan yet? Create one now and enjoy the team performance benefits.
4. Talk to the Team
Do you know who can provide a lot of good insight about your sales process? Your sales reps. They’re the ones out there, dealing with customers. They will also be the one implementing the process so it only makes sense that they have some say in it.
Talk to your sales teams to know what they are doing, what they are not doing, what they are experiencing positively and negatively. What challenges do they usually face? What actions yield the better and the best results? What do customers say? What do they like and don’t like?
It would be great to analyze leads that converted and those that dropped. What were done successfully and unsuccessfully? Doing this will help you identify the best practices you can continue and the problems you need to address.
It may be that your sales process is a work in progress, or you don’t have one at all. Whichever the case, remember these four critical initial steps so you can build an efficient sales process for your team.
Photos from Pexels. Main image by Startup Stock Photos